Hello happy readers, and welcome to Candidly Christian.
Our blogging team is made up of women with real faith in Christ, living in the real world. My name is Heather Hart, I’m the founder of this website, and I asked each of our bloggers four questions to help you get to know us just a bit. But we’d also love to hear your answers! We’re real people, so we want to get to know the real you, too. So be sure to leave a comment introducing yourself.
What is something you love or enjoy?
Jaime: Coffee. Just to be clear, there are many things and people higher on my love list, but it’s something that I really enjoy. I have been home roasting beans for about ten years now, and like experimenting with different types of green beans. There is something about roasting beans that feels like art. And then you get to make coffee out of them, which is a bonus!
Stephanie: I love chocolate, quilting, dogs, landscaping, yard work, reading, and writing. I love to bake desserts, but not eating them (sugar bothers me). I love winter, and hate summer (I think I got ruined by living in hot Georgia).
Laura: I love the fall weather, cozy fires, being home when I can and hanging with my family.
Alana: I absolutely love living in Alaska. I’ve been here a little over ten years now and couldn’t dream of living anywhere else. Our home actually has a lovely summer season (yes, we melt at seventy-five degrees, but that’s just because we’ve come out of a negative-forty-degree winter). I’m currently learning how to garden. There are so many other things about Alaska I love, the landscape, the northern lights, and believe it or not … moose meat! We lived with our family in Anchorage for a while, but now that we’re more rural our kids have so much more room and space to play and explore. We’re raising chickens and goats (another new skill I’m trying hard not to fail). I never thought of myself as the farming type, but it’s been a great adventure so far.
Sherry: One thing I really enjoy doing is writing, and editing. I know that’s odd, but I really do love it. I also enjoy finding little life lessons in everyday things.
Mary: I love visual arts, especially digital graphics, home decorating with my art, and costume creation.
Emma: I love the USA. It’s a beautiful land indeed and we are blessed to be living here. Every day I ask my kids, “What are thankful for today?” because we have much to feel privileged about. Clean water, food on demand, job opportunities, educational opportunities thanks to the internet. And best of all, we live in a country that doesn’t persecute Christians.
Debbie: Aside from God and Jesus, of course, I’m an avid golfer, and I also love dogs and horses (Friesians especially)!
Heather: (That’s me!) Jesus, books, flowers, flip-flops, chocolate, coffee, and coca cola – those are a few of my favorite things.’
What is something you struggle with?
Jaime: Organization. I have a dear friend who has helped me tremendously in this area, and I have been blessed with a husband who likes to optimize systems in our home. But maintaining once the systems are in place? Struggle!!
Stephanie: I struggle with loneliness and being a single mom. I really loved marriage and miss it every day. I struggle with being in peace and rest when I can’t see what is happening or going on in my life.
Laura: I struggle with feeling worthy … of love, success, Jesus’ sacrifice, blessings. It seems like I’m always waiting for the “other shoe to drop”.
Alana: Something I struggle with? On same days, it seems like I’d need to take off my socks to count all the different ones! I do struggle with keeping up the house. It’s just not as fun as playing board games with the kids or drafting a new novel. I’m learning, though. On a more serious note, I’ve struggled with depression on and off since I was in college. One of the worst bouts was during our first year of marriage when I went through two first-trimesters and one miscarriage. The stress of adjusting to married life, the loss of our first baby, and the hormonal chaos were something of a triple whammy that wreaked havoc on my emotions.
Sherry: I struggle with keeping myself focused at times. I tend to have several projects going around the house and with work, and sometimes I can get a little bit done on everything, but not finish any of those projects. This is something I work on daily.
Mary: Clarity and concentration. I am so easily distracted by all the things I want to do versus what I really should be doing. I am always seeing squirrels and running down rabbit trails. Sherlock Holmes said you can only fit so much lumber in the attic. Well, I am constantly picking my lumber off the eaves and the lawn from trying to shove so much in and having it fall out the windows.
Emma: I’ve been homeschooling for about twenty years now. I started when my son was three. Through the years I’ve tried this and that I have found homeschooling a challenge. Perhaps it’s because since my husband travels a great deal—about 70% of the time. (I jokingly tell my friends I’m practically a single mom) I think it didn’t help that I am a perfectionist by nature and had to deal with my own idiosyncrasies and faults—like the fact that this is not a season for “House Beautiful.” If I had to do it all over again I would have done quite a few things differently. But alas, there’s no turning back… onward Christian soldier, as they say.
Debbie: I struggle with trying not to get caught up on social and political issues, and world events. I have to remind myself to stay focused knowing that God is in control, and He has our backs!
Heather: I struggle with so many things it’s hard to narrow it down to just one… I think a big one for me would be self-confidence. Not in a prideful way, but even basic decision-making is hard for me. Or when I do make a decision I question it. From what to have for dinner, to major life choices, I always second guess and doubt myself.
What is your favorite thing about being a Christian?
Jaime: Hope. I honestly don’t know how anyone can read the news anymore and not want to buy a one-way ticket to Mars. But as the world grows darker, we know God’s light will shine all the more brightly, and have the privilege of being part of his continued work on planet Earth!
Stephanie: I love intimacy with the Holy Spirit and hearing His voice. I love reading the Word of God and how it speaks to me.
Laura: Unmerited love, grace, and faithfulness from our God! It’s about Him, not us … and this leaves me feeling RELIEVED.
Alana: Wow, what a hard question! I recently lost my grandma, and I love the fact that I know I’ll see her one day. On a related note, I get very worked up over certain issues of justice and inequality. Knowing that God will one day right all these wrongs gives me so much hope for the future kingdom he’s bringing! On a more day-to-day basis, I love the book of Isaiah — the poetry, the majesty, and the emphasis on justice and God’s coming glory.
Sherry: My favorite thing about being a Christian is knowing that no matter what is happening to me at the moment, God has a purpose. To know that there is a greater good being accomplished, that even though something may be hard, God still is holding me and I’m still His loved child is very comforting to me.
Mary: I love being a part of many other Christian writers’ journeys by talking them through book publishing details of all kinds, as well as designing covers and book interiors, and being an editor and book reviewer.
Emma: In all the struggles we have gone through (from having a failure to thrive baby, to a down syndrome scare, to a child threatened with tuberous sclerosis, just to name a few) I am so thankful I have Christ on my side. I sometimes wonder how non-believers do it! As humans we all face challenges, so where do they go to get their strength, to gain wisdom, to reach out for comfort? So, I’d say my favorite thing about being a Christian is that Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, is always by my side. It’s as the song says, “He walks with me, and talks with me.” A best friend every step of the way, that’s my Jesus and He’s available to everyone who seeks Him. And then there’s the Bible—a road map that will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death—something I can personally attest to.
Debbie: My favorite part of being a Christian is knowing that there’s a “safety net” and that His arms are big enough for us. I also love knowing that His grace and mercy are endless.
Heather: My favorite part of being a Christian is being able to rest in the grace of the gospel. To know that it’s not up to me, and I can’t mess up my salvation. That’s a huge burden lifted off of me, but I also love that I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is with me through everything. I never have to face anything alone.
What do you write about?
Jaime: I like to draw spiritual parallels from experiences or mental pictures everyone can relate to, and to dig deep into scripture to find jewels of Truth from the original Greek and Hebrew texts. (Not because I am a Bible scholar; I’m just capitalizing on the Information Age and using my Lexicon.)
Stephanie: I love writing about the concept of integrity, discipline, and uncompromising spirit; I like to instill it in women. I write about things that empower women to be strong, have courage, and to overcome. I want them to be empowered by the words I write that come from the Holy Spirit. On this website, I hope to write posts that help women grow in their faith and be strong. Posts that inspire them to live out their faith in an authentic way.
Laura: For this wonderful site, I’ll be writing under the byline I’m Surrounded. It will encompass a lot of things we go through as women including loving ourselves, holiday fun, feeling overwhelmed, etc. I am an author of several nonfiction and fiction (Short & Sweet Cozy Christian) books.
Alana: I sort of wear two hats as an author (more if you were to give me a new hat per genre), but I consider myself a fiction writer who sometimes dabbles in non-fiction. My fiction books are mostly suspense, and many of them bring up some of those social justice issues I mentioned that I’m really passionate about. My first novel, The Beloved Daughter, highlights Christian persecution in North Korea. It’s the start of a whole series of North Korea-based novels (there’s even a spy thriller series). My other major series, the Kennedy Stern Christian suspense novels, follow Kennedy through her undergrad years as a pre-med Harvard student. It’s suspense that also touches on issues like abortion, PTSD, racism, police brutality, homosexuality, and several other hot-button issues. If it’s a controversial subject that impacts the church today, I’ve either written about it or am planning to! I try to write fiction that doesn’t preach, doesn’t give absolute answers, but raises questions so my readers can explore their own ideas and convictions. As far as non-fiction goes, I primarily like to write about prayer. I’ve created several prayer guides that help people interceded about different issues impacting the world. I’ve cover issues like abortion, sex trafficking … a lot of the things I write about in my fiction books. I’ve asked God to use my books — both fiction and non — to encourage people, especially those who are hurting.
Sherry: I write about everyday things that teach me lessons about God. Sometimes they’re funny things from the kids, sometimes they’re hard things from a sermon I heard. I do also write fiction – cozy mystery and suspense.
Mary: I write historical fiction, allegorical fantasy, alt-Victorian steampunk with a Christian flair, nonfiction about our culture and scientific history, contemporary relationships, and archaeological mysteries, always with at least a touch of romance so far. You can find a complete list of my books here.
Emma: I write children and young adult fiction. We used to do a lot of read-alouds when the kids were younger and we’d run out good books—we read a lot! So I thought, “I’d write a fantasy version of Pilgrim’s Progress” with a special twist. Which is what my first book (the Reign series) is about –a kingdom cursed so the people became small and led lives less than what their King meant for them to have. Sounds familiar? Because I am eclectic and enjoy many genres, like mystery, suspense and thriller type books, I wrote Dead Dreams. And subsequently books for girls in the Princesses of Chadwick Castle series which marries adventure and classical artwork plus a tinge of ballet as well—my girls love ballet.
Debbie: I write children’s fantasy–I’m working on Book #2, and I’m also working on a few other stories for YA (contemporary) and YA & A (a mother/daughter relationship with a political twist & Christian theme). I have two WordPress blogs: one on the writing craft, and the other Christian-oriented. I also have an author’s website.
Heather: I have written or contributed to over a dozen books. My best-selling books are my Teen Devotionals… for Girls! It’s a series of three books, with the fourth scheduled to come out next year around Easter. I also write a women’s Bible study for my local church, and a few other things. Here at Candidly Christian I will be blogging about struggles I face as a Christian woman. Whether it’s faith, failures, or just life, I write about real struggles and how God has shown me it’s possible to overcome through the faith in Him. Oh… and I am also pretty obsessed with the gospel, so I’ll probably write about that a lot.
What about you?
We’d love to get to know our followers. Share your answers to the following questions in the comments:
- What is something you love or enjoy?
- What is something you struggle with?
- What is your favorite part of being a Christian?
- Are you an author or a blogger? If so, tell us what you write about!
If you’d like to get to know more about our bloggers, you can click here to read more about us.
Be sure to come back on Monday to read the first post written by one of the lovely women above.